Automatic VS Manual transmission. Which is better for roads of Nepal?

Before we begin this heavyweight championship bout of automatic VS manual and which is better in Nepali roads, let us shed some light on what is an automatic transmission in a car and what is a manual transmission. Because knowing the difference between having an automatic or manual transmission will give you the knowledge you need to make the right decision when buying a car.

So, what is it and how it works?

Let us save you the mumbo jumbo by going inside the transmission’s nuts and bolts and explain to you what each part does and what difference does it make and put it to you simply.

Automatic: An automatic transmission or most commonly known as auto or AT for short is a type of motor vehicle transmission that can change gears automatically as the vehicle moves forward without driver input or in other word with the driver physically changing the gears.

Manual: Manual transmission also commonly known as a stick shift or MT for short is a type of transmission … (you guessed it right !) where the driver has to manually or physically select the gear in a vehicle suitable for the situation.

Now that you know the basics let’s look into the major differences between the two.

  • A manual transmission vehicle has a gear lever which allows you to physically shift the transmission into the proper gear.

    Which looks something like this :

  • It also includes a clutch pedal which unlocks the gears so you can safely shift it into the next gear.
  • You have to do the work in a vehicle with a manual transmission vehicle – while an automatic transmission vehicle does all of this work for you once you put it into drive. Without the clutch pedal.

Now that you are enlightened about both types of transmissions. Place your bets on your fighter.

ROUND 1: Condition of Nepal’s roads.

But because we are trying to find out which type of transmission is better for roads of Nepal. Let’s look into “THE ROADS OF NEPAL”.  And we are not even going as far as the top a hill in the far west. We are talking about major cities. Civilized city roads turned into series of potholes or should we say off road all thanks to the “melamchi khanepani project” because it has spared none. And let’s not even get started with the quality of half inch  tarmac the government pave our roads with every rainy season. The front wheel drives without high enough clearance is just not designed to go through series of potholes and god knows what kind of bumps a driver faces in every turn of a wheel. So in this round no one wins regardless of transmission a car carries.

AT : 0

MT: 0

Round 2: Traffic jams

Don’t even know where to begin with this one. If you live in Kathmandu and live as far as 30 minutes from your office it’s certain you already know it’s going to take u atleast double the time, may be triple in rush hours. So whats causing this insane amount of gridlocks? The digging around for kulekhani khanepani project? , the outdated traffic rules we have? The incompetent and selfish drivers who always wants to be first?, or just there are staggering amount of vehicles? (find out the increase in motor vehicle before and after 5 years in nepal)

Whatever the reason be, sitting in bumper to bumper traffic can be exhausting when there are too many things involved in getting the car moving.In a manual, it’s not depressing the clutch pedal that takes practice – releasing it requires practice to ensure a smooth start and gradual transition between gears once the vehicle is in motion. If the clutch pedal is not properly used the car will “jump-start” (much like an angry donkey) and often stall. And this is where the AT lands an uppercut to the manual by eliminating the need to use the clutch pedal entirely. You can just press the accelerator pedal to move and the brake pedal to stop. SIMPLE.

AT : 1

MT : 0

ROUND 3: Fuel Economy

There is no beating around the bush here. MT used to be better with fuel economy in the past but  ATs adoption of modern technology is changing the scene wildy fast with some modern cars coming up with upto 8 gears with shorter gear ratios consequently boosting fuel economy level. Good goin auto.

AT : 2

MT : 0

Round 4: Maintenance Cost

Any mechanic will tell you if you ask, how back breaking of a job it is to repair automatic transmission. Reason being, automatics have more parts moving around and sophisticated computer programming going on to ensure you the best fuel economy and hassle free start of the vehicle and you haven’t forgotten how easy it was to stop n go in a traffic jam have you ? Manual transmission vehicles have a lower maintenance cost because there are fewer transmission parts involved which means there are fewer things that can break. Therefore resulting in less in maintenance.

AT : 2

MT : 1

Round 5: Showroom price

Manual transmissions cost cheaper than Automatic transmission because it contains less components.

Here are few price comparisons :

Hyundai Santa Fe Manual Transmission: Rs 10,396,000

Hyundai Santa Fe Auto Transmission: Rs 12,296,000

Land Cruiser Prado Dual AC TX Manual Transmission with Chrome Package – Rs 1,84,00,000

Land Cruiser Prado Dual AC TX Auto Transmission: Rs 1,86,00,000

Land Cruiser Prado Dual AC VX Manual Transmission: Rs 2,30,00,000

Land Cruiser Prado Dual AC VX Auto Transmission: 2,33,00,000

AT: 2

MT: 2

Tough rounds between MT and AT. Let’s look at some more aspects that can help you decide.

Control You get far more control with a manual.
Vehicle cost Vehicles with MT are roughly 2 lakhs cheaper.
Fuel Economy Cars with automatic transmission consume 5%-15% less fuel depending on road conditions and driving habits.
Maintenance Manual transmission don’t need as much maintenance as automatics and when they do, the repair costs are much cheaper.
Heavy Traffic  Automatics win this round: it’s much easier to drive in stop-and-go traffic with an automatic.
Weight Manual transmission boxes are lighter than automatics
Cooling It’s much easier for an automatic transmission to overheat

There you go.Despite all the numbers and figures after all when we buy a car it’s about the “feel” of the car. Want to impress your girlfriend? Drive a manual. Want to race? Manual again. Want to look cool? Manual again. Don’t care about what others think and just want a comfy ride? Definitely automatic. GodSpeed.